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Dominican Republic Doctors Go on 48-Hour Strike

Striking healthcare workers in the Dominican Republic, Oct. 4, 2017/Photo: Reuters
Dominican Republic Doctors Go on 48-Hour Strike

The president of the union said they hadn’t heard from any government officials regarding any of their strike demands.

The Dominican Medical Association in the Dominican Republic began its 48-hour strike today in protest to the government for not completing an original labor bargain from 2016.

The CMD President Waldo Ariel Suero said the union is protesting because about 5,000 doctors, mainly those who work in state-run hospitals, still have not gotten the raise promised to all physicians in the union. Doctors who have received the raise in 2016 have only received a 15 percent jump in their salary, rather than the negotiated 25 percent. In addition, many medical professionals are being shut out of an agreed-upon pension plan.

Suero said that first-year medical residents haven’t been paid in three months and that the government isn’t moving fast enough to lessen the 40 percent unemployment rate among the medical sector in the Dominican Republic.

At protests held outside of the state-run Marcelino Velez Santana Regional General Hospital, workers held banners that read, “We are physicians. We deserve to be included in the salary raise.”

This is the third medical profession strike of the CMD held in the past two months. The most recent strike was last week where, according to EFE, CMD members burned in effigy the National Health Service director Nelson Rodriguez Monegro. At that protest, Suero said that the union hadn’t heard from any government officials on any of their strike demands but that, “if they want to dialogue, then dialogue. They know my (phone) number.”

He said the CMD has had to “radicalize” their tactics in response to the government’s inability to implement their previously negotiated demands. As doctors strike until Friday, defense ministry officials announced that two military hospitals will open their doors to attend to the civilian population. Additionally, the Dominican Institute of Social Security and the National Health Service will remain open for emergencies.

Source/teleSUR

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